New Delhi, Dec 2: It is essential to educate oneself and understand that HIV-AIDS is like any other disease and should not be considered a taboo, health experts said at an event commemorating World Aids Day here Monday.
“The first time you get to know that you are HIV positive, you think that your life is over, and this is something that has happened because of things that which may not be approved in our society,” said Archana Beri, public health specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US.
“But we need to understand that it is just like any other disease, and a person should not be judged on his/her way of life,” she said while answering questions by students of National Service Scheme, Jamia Millia Islamia.
She said that instead of judging a person, people should educate themselves about HIV-AIDS, know what the disease, how it is spread, and finally learn how to contribute to the society in dealing with it.
The event was organised by the US embassy in partnership with President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The theme for World AIDS Day 2013 was “Shared Responsibility-Strengthening Results for an AIDS-free Generation”.
On the nature of the disease, Sanjay Kapur of USAID said: “HIV-AIDS is no death sentence. There is treatment available which can prolong a patient’s life. But the most important thing to know is that it can be prevented if proper measures are taken.”
“The message to take home is that though anyone can get it, everyone can prevent it,” he said.
The experts said the three main causes of the disease were unprotected sexual intercourse, mother to child transmission, and through blood and blood products.
The event also screened two short films, “Blood Brothers” and “Positive” by Vishal Bhardwaj and Farhan Akhtar respectively.